Life is all about balance, but recently my eating habits have been tipping the scales towards ‘naughty and nice’ more than nutritious. The problem is going out for food with my partner and friends is one of my all-time favourite things to do, which makes eating healthier feel like even more of a struggle.
So, I decided to go on the hunt for healthy lunch options in Nottingham– you know, for those days where you fancy something lighter than a carb-on-carb lunch and more exciting than a supermarket sandwich (sorry Tesco)– and I came up with this list of 12 places. If it’s nutritious nosh in Notts you’re looking for, then I’ve got you covered!
Blend — Unit 30, Avenue C, Sneinton Market, Nottingham, NG1 1DW
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am to 5pm
Because of all the hype surrounding Blend’s famous grilled cheese toasties, their salads are criminally underrated and I’m on a one-woman mission to change that.
Your bog standard lettuce, tomato and cucumber salad just doesn’t cut it for me. I like my salads to have as many tasty toppings as possible and the ones served at Blend definitely fit the bill! Their creative ingredient combos (like goat’s cheese, strawberry, toasted almond and spring onion) are proof that healthy food doesn’t have to be boring.
Clean Cut Kitchen — Clock Tower Dining, Victoria Centre, Nottingham, NG1 3QN
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 9am to 6pm, Sunday 10am to 4pm
My favourite healthy food destination! If you’re looking for a nourishing lunch in Nottingham, there’s no better place to go than Clean Cut Kitchen.
This restaurant is all about ‘clean eating’, which means they avoid processed foods and refined sugar without compromising on taste. As well as yummy salads, there’s macro bowls, lean burgers and smoothie bowls to try.
Pokéwaves — Clock Tower Dining, Victoria Centre, Nottingham, NG1 3PA
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday 11am to 7pm, Friday and Saturday 11am to 8pm, Sunday 12pm to 6pm
I’ve been obsessed with poké bowls ever since I tried one for the first time last year. The Hawaiian-inspired dish is full of nutritious ingredients, including fish, rice and vegetables.
If you’d like a lower calorie option than the standard poké bowl, you can ask for half your rice portion to be replaced with leafy veg. I also like to to top mine with an avocado for an extra £1 (worth every penny!)
Avocafé — 1 Park Street, Nottingham, NG7 1RR
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 9.30am to 5pm
Avocafé is a great lunch option for students, as it’s handily located next to the Savoy cinema in Lenton (a.k.a student housing central).
This is another business that specialises in fresh, nutritious food, so you can’t really go wrong when ordering any of the delicious items on their menu. The protein packed bowl is an especially good choice if you want a meal that’s both healthy and filling.
Prickly Pear — 127 Mansfield Road, Nottingham, NG1 3FQ
Opening hours: Tuesday and Wednesday 10am to 5pm, Thursday 10am to 9pm
Prickly Pear is a 100% plant-based café that does a mouth-watering mac ‘n’ cheeze (which I personally recommend all vegans and non-vegans should try) as well as some great healthy food options. Their signature healthy dish is the aptly named Big Salad, made up of smoky black beans, salsa, guacamole, lentils, coleslaw, chickpeas and kale with some extra seasoning thrown into the mix.
Prickly Pear also has a gorgeous smoothie bowl on their brunch menu, better known as the Super Bowl, if you fancy something sweet.
Cartwheel — 16 Low Pavement, Nottingham, NG1 7DL
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm, Saturday 9am to 5pm, Sunday 10am to 4pm
One of the best brunch spots in Notts! Cartwheel’s Smashed Avocado and Eggs comes with a dollop of pesto and toasted pine nuts sprinkled on top. It’s my go to when I’m feeling in the mood for something nutritious on toast.
Want something lighter? Opt for the superfood salad – it’s full of greens with added quinoa, sundried tomatoes and toasted walnuts.
Fox Café — 9 Pelham Street, Nottingham, NG1 2EH
Opening hours: Daily 8.30am to 6pm
Fox Café is a firm favourite for vegetarians and vegans in Notts, and a solid choice if you’re after a salad with some personality.
Start off with a base of mixed leaves, cucumber, tomatoes, mixed peppers, red onion, beetroot, olives and seeds, then add two toppings and a dressing. If you aren’t big on salads, you can also order gourmet sandwiches, paninis and grazing boards.
Wagamama – Cornerhouse, Nottingham, NG1 4DB
Opening hours: Monday to Wednesday 11am to 10pm, Thursday to Saturday 11am to 11pm, Sunday 11am to 10pm
Can you believe I only discovered the wonders of Waga a couple of years ago? Their flavour-filled kokoro bowls provide a lighter alternative to the noodle and rice based dishes that Wagamama is best known for.
This chain is also a trailblazer when it comes to vegan food, with 50% of the items on their menu classified as plant-based.
Bonzai — 11-13 Carlton Street, Nottingham, NG1 1NL
Opening hours: Daily 12pm to 11pm
I love sushi but I’ve got a tendency to be greedy and over order – absolutely fine if it’s a Saturday, but not so good on a week day when I have to return to the office and wait for the inevitable carb coma to kick in.
A bento box will satisfy your sushi cravings without leaving you feeling too stuffed to move afterwards. The bento boxes at Bonzai consist of rice, fish or meat, pickled veg and miso soup on the side.
31K — 31 Goose Gate, Nottingham, NG1 1FE
Opening hours: Tuesday to Thursday 4pm to 11pm, Friday and Saturday 12pm to 12am, Sunday 12pm to 11pm
31K in Hockley is best known for its incredible cocktail menu, but the food there is quickly developing an impressive reputation of its own.
The menu changes with the seasons, but the food always follows the same simple ‘build your own’ format of main, sauce, carb and greens.
Café Coco Tang — 8 Byard Lane, Nottingham, NG1 2GJ
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 11.30am to 10pm, Sunday 11.30am to 7pm
This Vietnamese kitchen is a foodie hot spot in Nottingham. Not only is Café Coco Tang one of the most beautiful venues in the city with lots of foliage and stunning wall murals, it also serves fantastic Asian food.
There’s a variety of dishes that would be ideal for a light lunch, like the mango salad and green papaya salad.
Barburrito — 22 King Street, Nottingham, NG1 2AS
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 11am to 10pm, Sunday 12pm to 10pm
Barburrito offer a number of healthier alternatives to the classic burrito. Swap your rice for coleslaw with the superfood burrito, which also contains four of your five a day, or if you’d rather skip the wrap than the rice, you can also enjoy your burrito naked with the classic bowl.
The protein bowl is another option, especially if you’re looking for food with higher protein and lower carbs.